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Sizing up the first-round talents

17. Brandon Graham, DE Michigan 6-1, 268 (OLB)

After destroying everyone in the Senior Bowl and the practices leading up to the game, he stepped up even more in the Combine with 31 reps on the bench and a nice 4.72 40. Always working and always looking to crank out the big play, he's explosive, has great closing ability, and is all over the field. He's not an elite athlete and is a bit of a tweener, and there will be times when he gets erased by talented tackles. While he worked out well, he's an even better football player even though he's not as tall as many would like and he doesn't have the perfect look.

CFN Projection: First Round

18. Sergio Kindle, OLB Texas 6-3, 250 (DE)

A tweener, he's not an elite athlete and isn't sure-thing dominant as an outside linebacker, and he's not an NFL defensive end. Very strong looking with the right body and the right look, he's a good worker who can play in a variety of spots and plays much faster than he times. There have been a few off-the-field issues, but there's nothing to get into a big twist over. If he's in the right system, he could become a devastating pass rusher who's far better in the pros than he was as a collegian when he was the focus of every blocking scheme. However, he has to prove it. Everyone bent over backward to make excuses why he wasn't producing at a high level.

CFN Projection: First Round

19. Golden Tate, WR Notre Dame 5-10, 199 (Jr.)

He's short. That's the knock. In today's day and age of big, strong NFL receivers, Tate is a bit of a mighty-mite (even though he's not really that small). Uncoverable at times throughout his career, he showed that he had all the basic skills at the Combine running a 4.42 while looking natural in all the quickness drills. Strength? The 17 reps on the bench weren't that bad. With extreme quickness and tremendous route-running ability, he'll quickly grow into his starting quarterback's best friend and should be a yards-after-the-catch monster. He's ready to go right away, having played in a pro-style offense at Notre Dame and can be used as a kick and punt returner to go along with his potential as a No. 1 target. While he'll be banged up from time to time and will have a few problems with the bigger corners, he'll be a terrific pro.

CFN Projection: First Round

20. Mike Iupati, OG Idaho 6-5, 331 (OT)

Very big, he's a people-mover who's expected to be strong for the running game. His 27 reps at the Combine were fine, but hardly special for a player considered to be the sure-thing No. 1 guard in the draft. He's extremely quick for his size, but he's not necessarily a tackle, and he's way too sloppy with his hands and could get called for holding any time an official wants to throw the flag. His upside might be limitless, but he's not ready to destroy out of the box. In time, he has the potential to be special with the right coaching.

CFN Projection: First Round

21. Sean Weatherspoon, OLB Missouri 6-1, 239 (ILB)

A natural leader who's very yappy, but is the type of player everyone wants to be around and follow, he had an ultra-productive career and proved at the Combine to be extremely strong with nice quickness. Always around the ball, he's an active defender who holds up well against big blockers and he doesn't miss a tackle when he gets there. He doesn't have the best range and is a bit small, but his intensity and his tackling make up for it. But be warned; he'll rub some people the wrong way, and if he's not great and he keeps talking, he'll tick off a lot of teammates.

CFN Projection: First Round

22. Jerry Hughes, OLB TCU 6-2, 255 (DE)

A very pure, elite pass rusher who showed at the Combine that he could be a defensive end if he needs to be and could also be quick enough to work as an outside linebacker. The 26 lifts on the bench were fantastic and he flew around the short drills. With great work ethic, a high motor, and the ability to raise his game at the right time, he's the type of player coaches rave about and love to have around. He'll need to find the right fit and he can't be asked to hold up against the run on a regular basis, but he'll be deadly when turned loose.

CFN Projection: Second Round

23. Ryan Mathews, RB Fresno State 6-0, 218 (Jr.)

Very fast on the field, he showed at the Combine that he really was fast with a 4.45 in the body of a big back. Basically, if you liked him on film, you loved him even more after his workouts. Unlike the other top runners in this draft, Mathews has the potential to be a workhorse runner who can touch the ball 25 times per game and can be just as explosive. A home-run hitter who ripped up some of the better teams on the schedule, Mathews can take it the distance with just a little bit of room and a hole to cut back through. Not just a runner, he has nice hands and can be used on third downs as a receiver, too. There's a lot of wear on the tires and he'll likely have a short shelf life, but the three or four years of production should be huge.

CFN Projection: Late First Round

24. Dez Bryant, WR Oklahoma State 6-2, 225 (Jr.)

On sheer talent and raw ability he has all the tools to be the next NFL superstar receiver. He's big, strong, fast, and productive with the want-to when it comes to fighting for the ball to go along with the desire to succeed. He's tough, will beat up the weaker corners, and he's just shifty enough to make big things happen in the open field. So what's the problem? There are some huge, waving, bright red flags about his character, maturity, and ability to handle himself as a pro at the next level. When the coaches say something negative about a player, that should be a warning sign. OSU insiders have said that Bryant has about a five-second attention span, can't focus on anything, and can't be counted on to grasp the intricacies of the pro game. If he goes somewhere with a veteran, talented receiver and can be a protege (sort of like Cris Carter was for Randy Moss), the talent could be tapped. If he goes somewhere and has to be the No. 1 target out of the box, there's Charles Rogers bust potential.

CFN Projection: First Round

25. Joe Haden, CB Florida 5-11, 193

After a peerless college career, he was everyone's sure-thing, no question about it No. 1 corner off the board. And then he ran. With a brutal 4.57 at the Combine, all of a sudden, his stock as a shut-down defender dropped like a rock. He jumped well and was quick through the short drills, but the timed speed was too miserable to think he can ever be the type of NFL corner who can erase half the field. Even with the workout issues, his tape overshadows almost everything and he should be a functional pro with little bust potential. He's strong, had no problems staying with some of the best receivers in college football in some of the biggest games, and is terrific at stopping the run. On an elite defense with great players around him, he was allowed to take plenty of chances and get away with it, so it could be buyer beware if he gets put on a mediocre secondary where he has to be a standout.

CFN Projection: First Round

26. Kyle Wilson, CB Boise State 5-10, 194

Extremely strong for his size, coming up with 25 reps on the bench at the Combine, he's tough, fast, and very productive. He's not quite the all-around athlete of some of the other corners, but he moves well and spent the last few years erasing opposing No. 1 receivers. He needs to be more of a pick-off artist and he gets blocked too easily, but he has outstanding skills and should be a good corner on an island as long as he doesn't have to be the star of a secondary.

CFN Projection: Second Round

27. C.J. Spiller, RB Clemson 5-11, 196

Extremely fast, extremely explosive, and extremely dangerous, if the goal was to draft a potential game-changer who can come up with one or three big plays a game, but will only play for 10 games, then Spiller is the guy. His 4.31 at the Combine showed the flash that everyone needed to see to get the juices flowing, but he's not an inside runner and he's always, always, always hurt. It's not like he has a slew of major injuries, but he always has a pull, a strain, or a ding of some sort. He could be another Reggie Bush and be used in a variety of ways, including as a receiver and a returner, but he can't be the focal point or centerpiece of an attack and he can't be counted on for a full season.

CFN Projection: First Round

28. Daryl Washington, ILB TCU 6-2, 230

One of the high risers, he's a terrific athlete with a good frame, a lot of fight, and a fantastic burst. He needs to get a lot stronger after only coming up with 17 reps on the bench, and he's a beefed up safety-sized player without much room to get bigger, but the upside is tremendous. There isn't a lot of wear on the tires and he could be scratching the surface, but he might end up working more on the outside as his career goes on if he's not playing in a 3-4. He's not an NFL middle linebacker.

CFN Projection: Second Round

29. Tyson Alualu, DT California 6-3, 295 (DE)

Unblockable at times, he's too quick for most lumbering linemen and he showed off his athleticism with a dominant week at the Senior Bowl. He's not a load and he's not going to be anyone's anchor, but he's an ideal 3-4 end and could be more than fine as a 4-3 one-gap tackle. Very smart with tremendous character and work-ethic, he's always working and brings it on every play. While he needs to get stronger and is a bit too much of a tweener, he'll be the type of player everyone loves because of his coachability and versatility.

CFN Projection: Second Round

30. Patrick Robinson, CB Florida State 5-11, 190

Very fast with good size and tremendous athleticism, he has the raw tools and the explosiveness to be a top-shelf shut-down corner. He's a game-changing ball-hawk who knows how to hang around with receivers and not let them go, and he's not afraid to make a stick and get in on a tough run stop. The problem is the same one that many top college corners have; no one wanted to throw his way. Durability is a question mark and he can be beaten when he's not focused. He can hit, but he only tackles when he wants to. On athleticism alone he should grow into a very nice, very safe pro, and if he wants it, he could be a perennial Pro Bowler.

CFN Projection: Second Round

31. Anthony Davis, OT Rutgers 6-5, 323 (Jr.)

A superstar recruit for Rutgers, he was good, but he didn't have the career expected. It's all there with perfect size, good quickness, and the mentality to work as a pass protector on the left side. The issue is his make-up. Extremely undisciplined, he never reached his full potential after failing to adhere to team rules. He wasn't nearly consistent enough considering his skills and when he wasn't concentrating, he was beaten by far lesser players. His size could also be a problem and will have to stay away from the table. Even with all the problems and concerns, he could be a superstar with the right coaching and if the light bulb goes on.

CFN Projection: First Round

32. Sean Lee, LB Penn State 6-2, 236

It's all up to how his knee holds up. He was having a special career before suffering a torn ACL just before the 2008 season. He was good when he returned, but he wasn't quite the same all-around playmaker. A great tackler who always takes the right angles and rarely takes a wasted step, but he's not blazing fast and he's not the biggest hitter. Smart enough and just good enough to play any linebacking spot, his versatility will make him a godsend for most coaching staffs. But can his knee last? Durability will always be a concern

CFN Projection: Second Round